Saturday, March 6, 2010

Arp 94 - Intergalactic Hunger Pangs or Something Else Entirely...

These two galaxies, NGC 3226 and 3227, are cataloged together as Arp 94. They are interacting, and one appears to be devouring the other. Halton Arp included this pair in his Catalogue of Peculiar Galaxies, due to this interaction. This catalog is a running record of all major galaxies known to be unusual, odd, or breaking the rules in some way. As always, there is controversy attached to it, as is typical of most things stemming from Mr. Arp.

The larger spiral galaxy is known to harbor an active nucleus, thought to be a Black Hole by most scientists. Most agree the larger spiral is slowly consuming it's smaller dwarf neighbor, the elliptical (round) galaxy. Mr. Arp has pointed out that this combination of Spiral Galaxy with an active nucleus paired with a smaller Dwarf Elliptical occurs very frequently in his catalog. He feels something else is taking place other than one galaxy consuming the other, in most of these cases.

While Mr. Arp is considered somewhat of a crank amongst his peers, he is a very astute observer. Maybe there is more to the story than we can really see, then again maybe not.

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